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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, November 23, 3 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Liberty Bank Stadium (30.964) -- Jonesboro, Arkansas. Television: None. Home Record: GSU 0-6, ASU 4-1. Away Record: GSU 0-4, ASU 2-3. Neutral Record: GSU 0-0, ASU 0-0. Conference Record: GSU 0-5, ASU 4-1. Series Record: First-ever meeting.
GAME NOTES: The Arkansas State Red Wolves will attempt to continue their recent hot streak on Saturday afternoon, as they play host to the last-place Georgia State Panthers in Sun Belt Conference action at Liberty Bank Stadium.
Georgia State's first season as a member of the FBS has been predictably difficult, although the fact that it is winless at this juncture is highly disappointing. The Panthers lost to first-place Louisiana last Saturday, 35-21, to fall to 0-5 in the Sun Belt and 0-10 overall.
Arkansas State has found its stride in recent weeks, ripping off three straight wins to improve to 6-4 overall and become bowl eligible for the third consecutive season. The Red Wolves made easy work of Texas State last weekend at home, 38-21, to remain alone in second place in the Sun Belt Conference at 4-1, a game behind Louisiana (5-0). They already lost to the Ragin' Cajuns this season, however, meaning they'll need a lot of help if they want to win their third straight conference championship
This bout marks the first-ever meeting between these two programs.
The Panthers offense puts up just 348.6 yards per game, and their scoring average of 17.5 ppg is the lowest in the Sun Belt.
Ronnie Bell has shown some promise under center though, throwing for 2,074 yards and 14 touchdowns, but lacks accuracy as he has completed just 50 percent of his passes and has thrown 10 interceptions.
The majority of Bell's productive throws have gone to Albert Wilson, who ranks second in the Sun Belt in receptions (58), first in yards (927) and is tied for second in touchdowns (seven). The reception number is a school record, as are his all-purpose yards (1,834). Robert Davis has pieced together a strong campaign opposite Wilson, catching 37 balls for 541 yards and four touchdown.
The Panthers' rushing attack is not very effective, gaining just 101.9 yards per game on 3.4 yards per carry. Travis Evans leads the way with 394 yards and three scores.
In addition to a poor offense, Georgia State also has the league's worst scoring defense, allowing 36.7 points per game. It has not been an opportunistic unit either, as it has created just 11 takeaways.
Joseph Peterson leads the team in tackles with 79 despite missing a game, and fellow linebacker Robert Ferguson has 55 stops, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. Brent McClendon has two of the team's six interceptions and has also forced a pair of fumbles.
While Arkansas State ranks in the middle of the Sun Belt pack both in terms of scoring (29.0 ppg) and yardage (431.3 ypg), the offense has been clicking recently with 80 points scored in the last two weeks.
Adam Kennedy has not been flashy under center -- tossing just nine touchdown in 10 games -- but he has run the offense efficiently by completing 69 percent of his passes for 2,130 yards with just five interceptions. He has also made an impact with his legs, amassing 432 rushing yards and four touchdowns.
The Red Wolves' rushing attack is their biggest strength, as they pile up 211.1 yards per game. Michael Gordon (539 yards, nine TDs) has emerged of late, racking up 315 total yards and seven touchdowns in the last two wins alone. David Oku (491 yards, six TDs) has also been productive.
Kennedy relies heavily on a pair of trusty receivers, as J.D. McKissic has 61 catches for 504 yards and three touchdowns, and Julian Jones has caught 48 passes for 615 yards and three scores.
Arkansas State's defense is the second best in the league when it comes to allowing points (25.3 ppg), and much like the offense, it has come on of late, yielding just 17.0 points per game during its three-game win streak.
Qushaun Lee is in on his way to an All-Conference selection, as has logged 102 tackles and two forced fumbles. Ryan Carrethers (73 tackles, 3.5 sacks, blocked kick), Chris Stone (9.5 TFL, 3.0 sacks), Sterling Young (61 tackles, two INTs) and Rocky Hayes (three INTs) are also standout performers for the ASU defense.
This season has been a long and painful one for Georgia State, and not much is expected to change heading into hostile territory against a bowl-eligible pack of Red Wolves. This one could get out of hand early.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Arkansas State 45, Georgia State 20
11/20 10:42:54 ET
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